Category: Fitness

How to Make Time for Exercise

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What Do You Really Want?

One of the main reasons that people don’t succeed in their health initiatives is failing to prioritize. Some refer to this illusive quality as “Time Management”. The truth is exactly what my Grandmother said, “People do what they want to do.”, implying that we talk a good game but when the chips are down, we do what means the most to us.

Nurturer

Have you ever had a day, or a year… where you kept meaning to exercise but you just couldn’t get to it? What were you doing? Sometimes we defend ourselves by saying that we were doing something for someone else. Whose going to do it when your health fails due to poor health habits? It makes much more sense to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others later.

I Have a Job

One often heard response is, “Well… I have to work.” Most people do. Very few of us are professional athletes or bikini competitors who fly around the world for competitions to earn our living. David and I both work very demanding jobs with long hours but we prioritize our workouts. They are non-negotiable. We both have full lives outside of our jobs that require our time. We both frequently get under the bar when we are beyond exhausted. People do what they want to do. Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to be active? If you truly do, get your doctor’s permission and find an activity that you will commit to do. Make it non-negotiable.

Command Your Destiny

There will always be people in your life that want to commandeer your time. Learning how to say “No!” is imperative. If “No!” is hard for you, you can always speak up for yourself and tell the person that you may have time after your workout but your workout comes first. I once lived with someone who used my exercise mat that I was using at the time for a project of some sort and had something that they wanted me to do when it was time for me to work out. I was doing a very hard circuit training video that absolutely required a mat. I promptly scrambled to the kitchen, grabbed my purse and started out the door and the person said “Where are you going?” When they learned that I was going to Walmart at 11:00 at night to get another mat, they were infuriated. It really didn’t matter. I was working out. I got my mat and got through it. It was a great workout.

Illusion

“I have to clean my house.” So, you have to work and every spare minute that you’re not working is spent cleaning house? Is there no down time on  your phone or tablet on social media? It’s very easy to spend hours on social media platforms and then wonder why we didn’t get anything done. Have you noticed that as social media has become mainstream, obesity has come to be seen as the norm? When we see our “Friends” becoming heavier, we begin to think that obesity is normal. (1) This applies in any social network and we tend to choose friends that are like us. We also spend hours sitting on our bottoms, exercising nothing except our fingers. That time would be so much better utilized with physical exercise that works your whole body. If you think that you have to clean your house, work out, leave your phone alone and clean your house.

The Answer

The simple truth is that there never seems to be enough time for everything that we want to do so priority is everything. There are known methods for prioritizing. Try utilizing these tips and get your workout done.

1-List everything that you need to get done.

Don’t assign an order to the items at this point. Just list them.

2-Identify what is critical.

Here is where your workout belongs. When David first started training me he told me that my workout was my job on the assigned days. That’s how it works. If it’s your job, fit it in around your paying job. It will be first, timed around your employment.

3-Determine what is the most valuable to you.

Is your health important? How about stress reduction? Recognize the ultimate significance of exercise and activity in your life and give it the place it deserves when you plan.

4-Do the hard stuff first.

If your workout’s not hard for you to get done then why are you always bumping it to the bottom of your to-do list? Get it done and then move on to tasks that take less commitment.

5- Be flexible about other tasks.

The world won’t stop if you don’t make that phone call to the friend that will keep you on the phone for hours lamenting her life. You don’t have to make the most complicated meal ever cooked in history tonight. Work out and do the other things that are necessary at a level that you can accomplish in the time left after your workout.

6-Decide what to cut and make sure that it’s not your workout.

There will be some things on your list that can wait. Don’t go ahead and do them just because it’s a good idea and miss your workout. You can paint the bathroom at another time. There will be tasks like this every single day. Do them on a day when you have a little extra time AFTER your workout.

Practicing What We Preach

Here at David’s Way we never tell you to do anything that we don’t practice. This is how we get our workout done. We recognize it’s importance and prioritize around it. You have to decide if you are being truthful about what you want. When you want fitness with your whole heart, you will make the time for it. As you become more fit other tasks will get easier. Your body will work more efficiently. Your mood will be better. After you have lived this way for a while, it will be your normal. Commit to fitness and reap a lifetime of rewards.

(1) https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/social-networks-can-affect-weight-happiness-201112163983

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Be Encouraged

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When the voices say you can’t go on

get up and show them that

they are wrong. Don’t Quit.

 

When all around you closes in

and darkness rises

deep within,

When pain reigns

and there’s no escape

When life gives nothing,

it just takes and takes,

When your best efforts seem in vain,

and your goals move away and begin to wane,

When it seems that things remain the same,

Don’t Quit.

 

Press on, get up, do over, be tough.

Never say never.

Never say die.

Never give in.

Even if you cry.

Can’t never could,

no would or should,

just do it again. Don’t Quit.

 

Blood, sweat and tears…

Days, years…

Small victories, gains…

They think you’re insane. Don’t Quit.

 

Small victories grow and

steal the show.

You’re somewhat surprised

when right before your eyes

your hard work creates

your victory.

It permeates

your very soul and in spite of the doubt,

then you know

it was worth the time,

it was worth the pain,

victory is sweet…

Now,

do it again,

Don’t Quit.

 

 

Lose 10 Pounds this Summer!

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Party!

After the Fourth of July swimsuits go on sale, Fall decorations begin to show up in Walmart, the barbecues and pool parties begin to slow and the exhilaration of the Season begins to fade. The excitement of getting slimmed down for the Summer is gone and we can have trouble focusing on our goals if they were based on that eternal quest for looking great in Summer clothes.

The Reality

The truth is that there is still about twelve weeks left of Summer…11.7 to be exact. This means that if you use the Calorie Counter Pro here on the blog, you have plenty of time to lose at least 10 pounds this Summer. The Calorie Counter Pro will give you exact guidelines to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. We advise you to lose 1 pound per week because it’s easier and you’re less likely to quit if it’s easier. Slow fat loss is always better than fast. Your habits will be changed gradually with less trauma and become more ingrained into your daily life. Your skin will adapt much better with slow loss. The subcutaneous layer of fat will be decreased slowly allowing the elasticity of your skin to remain better intact. You will look much better if you lose your fat slowly.

Seasonal Advantages

While the excitement of the Season is waning, the inspiration of the Season remains. It’s the hottest time of the year and that means less clothing. There’s still that incentive to look good in shorts or a swimsuit. You will also withstand the heat much better if you are not overeating and you are shedding body fat. That extra layer of fat makes you much hotter and you have extra weight to carry around. Start losing now and just a few pounds less will be noticeable in the “Dog Days” of August. You can get outside in the morning and evening and you can avail yourself of the pool and other outside Seasonal activities.

The Season of Gluttony

Before we know it, we will be bombarded with a series of Holidays that seem to have gluttony front and center. Regardless of why we say we are celebrating these Holidays, huge amounts of rich, sugar laden, fattening foods are always present. In the United States this gastronomical assault will begin early in October and continue until Spring, one Holiday after another, all offering their different unhealthy food choices. Most people use the Holidays as an excuse to make poor choices. The average weight gain during this time is between 5 and 10 pounds. This number will vary depending on where you read. If you’re over about 5 years old, you know this is true. Why not get the jump on this assault on your health and shed some pounds now?

Boost the Burn

Immediately after the Calorie Counter Pro you will see charts telling you how many calories you burn for various activities. As David says, “You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.” You have to get your eating under control first. Then you can burn a few extra calories by adding in some activity that you either enjoy or are simply willing to do. As the pounds come off you will build some muscle and look so much better and improve your health. Muscle is necessary for a healthy body. It not only increases your metabolism, it also helps prevent falls and gives you a better quality of life all around. Being strong gives you independence and autonomy which is great for your mental health. With your doctor’s permission, activity is a win-win situation.

Get Up and Go

The secret to health, longevity and high functionality is to keep pushing forward. Here at a time when so many are ready to toss in the towel and party the Summer away with food, drink and lethargy, I admonish you to get up and regroup. Your health is your most precious belonging. It’s never too late to make it your number one priority.

Reach Your Goal!

Pure Magic

Persistence is the key ingredient that makes all the difference in the world. There are many people who have great genetics, money, talent, a great personality or seem to get every break in the world but still fall short of their ultimate goals. There are others who work against all odds and succeed with flying colors. These people have the pure magic of persistence. They just won’t stop.

The Good Times are Easy

It’s easy to pursue our goals when everything is working in our favor but what about those dark times? What about those times when we have serious life issues to deal with, sickness, death, financial stress, job dissatisfaction or something that’s actually stupid but it still affects us in a negative way. As a man thinks, so is he. If we perceive something as significant, it is. It has the power to derail us if we don’t have good habits in place to deal with these hard times. Something as insignificant as a pound or two increase on the bathroom scale can send us into a tailspin if we don’t have good coping mechanisms. We always want to show continual progress towards our goals and the smallest setback can sometimes make us crazy. If the scale is your nemesis make sure to read David’s article, “Bathroom Scale Self Sabotage”. It will open your eyes about the true nature of how to use a bathroom scale. It is a tool, not your judge and jury.

Have a Vision

I struggled with weight control my entire life. It was only when I got a clear vision of what I truly want that I began to make progress. I sought wisdom and found David’s Way. I have my ups and downs with the mental struggle of wanting more and better all the time but since I have a clear cut vision of exactly what I’m trying to achieve, I know exactly what it will take to get there. I want an unusually high level of fitness. That may not be what you want but since I do, there are certain things that I never even consider because my training is strict. I never consider drinking alcohol or eating sugar. It won’t get me what I want. I rarely use salt because that will hide definition. I never, NEVER, just skip working out. I may have to modify my workout on rare occasion but skipping is just not an option. My goal is high. My behavior must follow suite. Yes, it is hard but not nearly as hard as wallowing in a less than fit body. Having a clearly defined picture of the body and life that I want automatically keeps pushing me further into fitness. (1)

Light Your Fire!

How bad do you want to be fit and healthy? Seriously. Is it a fad so that you can go to Dick’s or Academy Sports and get some workout clothes to wear shopping? I mean, after all, they’re comfy, right? If you want to succeed at being healthy, you’ve got to want it more than anything. It has to be all-consuming. The frilly notion that we can casually work our way into looking like a fitness model is absurd. Even though many images that we see are filtered, photo shopped and altered in more ways than we can even imagine, there are a few truly profoundly fit people in the world. Do you know what those people do to look like that? I can assure you that it isn’t a half-hearted effort. Taking half the icing off the cupcake is not their idea of working their program. These people have an intense work ethic where fitness is concerned. If you want to look like a bikini model or like you just got out of boot camp, yo have to want it with all of your heart.

Schedule

I toyed around with my hard workout for a while. When I first began, David told me that on certain days working out would be my job. I had major life changes including destruction of my home by a tornado, and at times I would try to change things up a bit to accommodate my crazy schedule. I am a nurse and work crazy hours and have had two different jobs in the last year and a half. What I discovered is that David’s advice about having a set schedule is golden. When I changed things up, my progress slowed. I don’t know why. The fact remains that it did. Prioritize and strictly schedule your workouts.

Be Flexible About Your Progress

If your program is not working anymore, find one that does. I have had three different programs in a year and a half. They were all good. I progressed and moved up. I would still get some benefit from any of them but to continue to progress, I had to be willing to change.

Be Confident

There are many voices all around you that will try to deter you from your fitness goals. The old saying, “Misery loves company.” applies here more than anywhere. People who do not want to work at being healthy really don’t want anyone else to do that because it proves that it can be done. Research and find a program that works for you and pursue your goal with your whole heart. Never doubt that you will achieve your goals. Don’t listen to negative input. You may feel ostracized and you may be. Believe me when I say, the people who will exclude you because you want to be healthy do not have your best interest at heart. They want to control you, your time or your money. Don’t be shaken in your convictions concerning your health.

Open Mind

Always be willing to learn. Regardless of how far you’ve come, there’s always something to learn. Seek wisdom and you will find it. Health is everything. It is a massive conglomeration of facts, theories and research. The human body is complex beyond the imagination. There are over twenty chemical reactions that have to take place every single time that you take a breath. Never assume that you know all you need to know. Here on the blog we make every effort to stay abreast of new research, not only for you, but for ourselves first. We practice what we preach and we’re ever-learning. I strongly encourage you to do the same. We will never know all there is to know about this wondrously made body that we inhabit.

Have a Role Model

In an all but hostile environment where health is concerned, it’s good to have a real life person that you can look to for guidance. When the going gets really tough, and it will, you can look at them and see how they made it through a similar obstacle. You won’t get this kind of support from most of your friends and family. Quite often it appears that successful people got where they are alone but when you talk to them, you will discover that there was somebody who influenced them. Find someone in real life that is a little ahead of you on the path that you want to travel and listen to them and implement their instruction.
Bad habits are socially contagious but so are good habits. Surround yourself with as many positive influences as possible. Visit us often. We are always here. You can comment on any article or contact us through the “Contact” button at no cost. You can also visit the “Forum” and start a thread for information. Look on the “Menu” for the “Forum”. David’s Way is a free tool to help you on your journey to health.

(1) https://www.fastcompany.com/3044531/7-habits-of-highly-persistent-people

Three Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat

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The Original Lie

Ahhh… I’ve heard the myth my whole life… “It’s easier to  lose weight in the Summer because of the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.” Seriously? Do you know how many calories and grams of carbohydrates are in some fruits? I struggled with this hard truth for years, not understanding why the weight didn’t just fall off of me in the Summer. Nevermind that I could,and did, eat an entire watermelon alone in an evening. I’m not talking about the personal size watermelon. I’m talking about the size for a family.

I know people who eat massive amounts of fruit in the Summer and have this struggle all Season. There is a common misconception that fruit is “Free”. Nothing is “Free” except water. Go ahead and wrap your brain around this and you may still lose some fat this Summer.

The idea that an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies is a help to weight loss is a little ridiculous anyway because regardless of how many peaches or cups of blueberries we eat, we can still scarf down a platter of fried chicken at the family picnic. Those extra calories from all that fruit just add onto an already out of control diet. And then… It’s “just” fruit, “Free”, right? So when Aunt Pat brings out her “Prize Winning Fresh Peach Cobbler” we think that we can still have dessert, and usually do. There is a deception that we are eating “healthy” because we have eaten multiple servings of fresh fruit so surely a little cobbler can’t hurt…

But I Work Out

And then there’s the deception that all that outdoor activity will somehow magically erase a freezer of homemade ice cream. Oh, I’ve been there. That’s how I know about these things. In the Winter we’re house bound a lot. When we can get outside and start walking, hiking, cycling and swimming we think that we’ll “burn off” those extra calories and the party mentality takes over and we just go wild. Look here on the blog, immediately after the Calorie Counter Pro and you’ll see the calories burned for various activities. As David says, “You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.” No matter what fad diet “science” tries to tell you, it’s “Calories In/Calories Out” that matters. Keep up with your grams of carbohydrates also. You need good lean protein to build muscle and if you eat too many calories in carbohydrates, you won’t have enough left for protein. Personally, I like about 100 grams of carbohydrates a day.

Siren Song

If you drink alcohol, it’s even worse because the inhibition lowering quality of a couple of Margaritas will make the whole platter of ribs look like a single serving container. Food tastes better after a few drinks also, so it’s even harder to eat sensibly. Add the calories that you drink in the alcohol and in some cases, the huge amounts of carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars, and you are toasting to your destruction. Quite often we use bits and pieces from everything from modern medical research to Biblical texts to justify drinking all Summer at every occasion and party. Justification won’t erase the calories, the carbs or the fat around your waist. Drinking “responsibly” will still make you fat.

Plan To Win

I eat a little bit of fruit in the Summer, a little, not a platter. Count your calories and your carbs and incorporate it into your daily allowance. Enjoy all that wonderful outside activity but don’t even think about using it as excuse to gorge yourself at the barbecue. Look at the activities as a seasonal tool to increase your fitness that you won’t have in the Winter. Take advantage of that instead of letting it take advantage of you. I strongly urge you to forgo alcohol. It has little to no place in an intense training program. If you insist on incorporating it into  your life, again, count your calories and carbs for the drinks and all the food that comes with it.

Win

With some planning and forethought you can have a glorious Summer and make progress on your fitness goals. Don’t listen to myths and tall tales and wishful thinking concerning these three things. Take control and be the Master of Your Fate.

Create Your Life.

Diet and Fitness Mistakes I Have Made

Making a list of diet and fitness mistakes I have made over the years might get kind of lengthy as I have made more than a few. Something I learned long ago is smart people learn from the mistakes of others, it might be said I am a slow learner. I hope you can learn a few lessons from my past mistakes, here goes:

1. I just did not care about diet and fitness at a couple of times in my life. This point is the one I want to place the most emphasis on, I did not care. Now, how about that for being not only less than intelligent, but also pretty damn selfish too? This mindset is pretty damn stupid as, at some point, an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle will jump up and pop you in the nose before you can even say ouch. You might get away with this for a period of time, but unhealthy eating and laziness will always, at some point, catch up with your ass.

I guarantee this. Without fail, your health will begin taking a dump on you at some point. For some, this may come later in life, but for many, they will become stoved up with old peoples issues and ailments far too prematurely. Look around yourself on any given day and you will see folks in their early forties who are obese, out of shape and too fucked up to be able to function at their full abilities as a human. Every day people become victims of their own poor lifestyles and then spend a good portion of time and a great deal of money on medical care which could otherwise be preventable.

Not taking care of your own health is a fucking selfish attitude that is never going to be just about you. Your poor choices will always become the business of someone else when you cannot fully take care of yourself. If you are going to be selfish about your own health, you might begin looking now for the loved one who is going to have to pick up the broken pieces behind your ass.

2. I never tracked my intake of food. When you eat with no regard to what types of food you are consuming, nor the amount of calories, your ass is going to become obese at some point. Most people can live a healthy life on 1800 to 2500 calories per day, especially if they eat whole, healthy foods that are not processed, contain added sugars and or tons of preservatives. You can very easily consume in excess of your daily needs in just one outing to a fast food restaurant. With all of the garbage foods of so called convenience of today, it is no difficult chore that people can find themselves consuming 5000 to 6000 calories per day, or even more. This is why in America we have an obesity epidemic where close to three fourths of our population is either already obese, or at a minimum, overweight. Sadly, this is also why our nation’s military is having a hard time finding quality recruits that can even meet the basic requirements to enlist. Our children are growing up obese, out of shape and suffering preventable physical ailments such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome to name just a few.

3. I over-estimated my caloric burn from exercise. This is a common problem where people greatly exaggerate their physical exertion from exercise. The thing is, many people have no clue what vigorous exercise truly is. Nor do they understand or know how to recognize the intensity of their efforts. I have seen this on a few weight loss social media sights, Weight Watchers specifically, where people will justify to themselves eating more than they need because they “exercised” at high intensity for at least an hour.

News flash; If you are overweight, or obese, it is highly unlikely that you are going to exercise at high intensity for a full hour. Really, it just is not going to happen simply because you would need to be an elite level athlete. If you were an elite level athlete, your ass would not be struggling to lose 100 pounds in the first place. This is just the truth, even if it hurts.

If you can easily carry on a conversation during your exercise, you are exercising at a low intensity. You can still carry on a conversation with ease because your heart rate is not elevated enough to burn fat. While a slow walk around the neighborhood is certainly much better than sitting your tail on the couch watching the boob tube, it is not going to justify going out for an ice cream sundae afterwards.

You want your heart rate to be at a level where you can still speak in conversation, but your words need to be labored. This is when you are at a medium intensity level. When your heart rate makes your conversation labored, you are at the fat burning aerobic zone for burning fat. This is where you need to be when doing cardiovascular exercises. Once your heart rate is in the right zone, it will take your body at least 20 minutes to burn through it’s glycogen stores before it begins burning fat for energy. You might need to work up to this, and that is perfectly fine. I would encourage you to do so. But in the meantime, do not over rate how much fat you are burning if you cannot go at it for at minimum of a half hour, and at least three times per week, four times preferably.

If you are huffing and puffing and cannot talk, you are at a high level of intensity. At this point, you have entered the anaerobic zone and need to slow down your intensity to the medium level. If you are over weight or obese, you are not going to be able to exercise at this intensity for more than a couple minutes at best. Period. I do not give a damn who you are. If you go onto your diet app and log that you exercised at a high intensity for a solid hour, you either do not understand intensity levels or you are lying to yourself in order to shovel more sugary crap down your piehole. If you do this, you are likely to never lose your weight and should take a moment to evaluate yourself, your goals and just how you are going to achieve them

4. I did not place the same emphasis on nutrition as I did my physical exercises of choice. If you enter Fitness Triad in our blog search bar, I have written an extensive article on this topic. In a nutshell, if you begin an exercise regimen, you need to feed your body with healthy foods for fuel. You need to ensure you are also consuming enough good protein in order to either maintain your lean muscle mass or to build upon it.

You need to ensure you are consuming the right amount of calories. Too many and you will find that you cannot out exercise your diet. Too few, and you will find yourself losing lean muscle mass and you could become what we refer to as skinny fat. Skinny fat is where your body might be at the so called ideal weight for your height, yet your body fat percentage is still to high for good health. Skinny fat is probably more harmful to your overall health and wellness as it could give you a false sense of security by being at your goal weight. Too high of a percentage of body fat is unhealthy no matter your weight which is why we teach and promote concentrating on body fat percentage over a random number on your bathroom scale.

Note: You can go to Calorie Counter Pro in our menu and find how many you need for your individual goal. It is free of charge to you.

5. I did not understand how important rest and recovery is to exercise specifically in weight training. Again, enter Fitness Triad in our search bar as this topic is also a part of that article. When you exercise, you cause micro-trauma to your muscle tissue which requires time to heal itself. This is how we get stronger. Another component of this equation is that your central nervous system needs a break too. This is particularly true when training with heavy weights. If you do not give your body adequate rest and recovery, you will find yourself burning out before you have reached your physical potential.

6. I did not do my due diligence in fully researching my exercise of choice from known experts. This is easier now days to do with all of the modern search engines available on the internet. It used to be that all we had for weight training was muscle magazines where Joe Wieder was selling worthless supplements and convoluted routines no one could ever fully understand, nor would they possess the personal equipment in order to even do them. Do yourself a favor and listen to those who are established professionals instead of falling into the trap of Bro Science which is usually based on utter bullshit.

7. I did not understand the importance of using an established routine or tracking my workouts in a log. If you are serious about any type of exercise, do yourself a favor and establish a routine, even if it is just running. And then log everything that you do. Sets, reps and weights for weight training. Distance, pace and time for running as examples. Tracking a routine is a form of measurement, and what gets measured gets done. It also allows you to keep track of your progress by being able to go back and read over your earlier sessions. It is also a good idea for weight trainers to log the amount of sleep you get each day, and the amount of calories and macronutrients you have consumed before hand. Your mood and or how you felt when beginning your exercise session is important too. By logging these items, you can more easily identify why your routine might be stalling out on you.

8. Getting hung up on not being the strongest, the fastest or the best in the gym. Everyone is a newbie at some point, and most gym goers know this. Do not worry about what others might think of your level of fitness when you go to the gym. Just get in there and be diligent in getting your routine completed. Your tenacity will be noticed by those who are experienced in physical fitness. And even if you do go unnoticed, who in the hell cares. Just do your own thing. Bear in mind too, that sometimes some of those you might think are all that in the gym might not know much more than you.

9. No matter your exercise of choice, learn to perfect your form and movements. If you think lifting weights is just picking up heavy stuff and setting it down, you are sadly mistaken. Take the time to perfect your form before trying to go heavy as this will mitigate your risk for injury and allow you to continue going forward for years to come. Lifing weights is as much about technique as it is about strength. Bad form and technique can hurt you bad.

If you are an aspiring runner, you need to learn it is more than just moving your feet as fast as you can for as far as you are able. Learn and perfect your stride. Build upon your pace, and how to breath. Seems simple enough, that is until you head out and cannot manage to jog around even a simple neighborhood block.

At a few weeks shy of turning 56 years old, I have made my share of mistakes in nutrition and exercise over the years. Those without blemish are usually found to be liars in my experience. Take care of your nutrition and fitness and odds are likely that your quality of life as you age is going to be leaps and bounds superior than if you neglect yourself. Too often, folks neglect themselves and find themselves sickly in their early forties, or younger, with ailments that used to not hit until at least the upper sixties or seventies. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take proper care of yourself.Anything else is simply selfishness on your part. Others will always have to pick up all of your broken pieces at some point.

Escape Anxiety and Meet Your Goals

Anxiety, Depression and Goals

Setting and working towards goals can reduce anxiety and depression and help you lead a happier life. (1) When we are constantly motivated to move towards a goal, we tend to organize our lives in that direction. We have less time for negative thoughts that weigh us down and hinder our progress. We make moments count to achieve those goals and simply don’t have the time or energy to dwell on the people, places and things that weigh us down. The next time you are having a bad day, instead of giving in to the overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss of control that accompany anxiety and depression, get up and make progress towards a goal. Work out, write, prep your meals, pre-track those meals, go for a leisurely stroll or a difficult hike, whatever will contribute to your overall health and wellness, and I guarantee that you will feel better. None of this is supposed to be a cure for major depression. We are not doctors and cannot diagnose or treat any condition. These are tools that you can utilize to improve your quality of life and again, exercise only with your doctor’s permission.

Win/Win

When we work out we change our brain chemistry but there are other ways that exercise helps stabilize our mood. We are exercising control. We have made a choice. This gives us the accurate feeling that we are not helpless. While there are many tragedies that befall us, we still have control over a whole lot. Making the decision to do something that moves us towards our goal of ultimate health and longevity takes us out of the victim mentality. Suddenly we are in the drivers seat and while we may not be able to choose the ultimate destination in the worst case scenarios, we can certainly choose the route. By doing what is best for us by eating healthy, exercising, resting and avoiding negative input and influences, we have chosen the Interstate over the pot-holed, gully-washed back road that nobody travels because it tears up their car. Many times we can also choose the destination. That’s what goal setting does. When life-changing tragedies occur, some destination choices may be lost, but with the exception of tragedy, you can choose your path and also where it leads. Exercise this power in your life. By focusing on long term goals, you change your present mood and also take yourself one step closer to your goals.

Take Out the Trash

Part of what we teach is to “Make Your Life Small”. This is a huge part of controlling your mental state and reducing anxiety. There are always people who want to drag you down to their level. Sometimes these are “well-meaning” people who actually believe that making your life a living Hell will somehow help you. They constantly criticize. Nothing is ever good enough for them. They tend to criticize the very tools and people who help you reach your goals as if they resent others having input into your life. When you do make a mistake, they love the “I told you so.” Although they profess to be your friend or to love you, their actions do not show it. They make you miserable and produce anxiety, depression and chaos in your life. Quite often, you will be moving along at a good pace and somehow they manage to interject a hindrance that can derail you for months or even years. Do I really have to say this? Cut the dead wood out of your life. Think about the lost time and energy and all the bad feelings that come with that person. If they are a relative, the challenge can be greater but you can disconnect from them in many ways. Don’t answer their calls or texts. Bam! You just took control. If there is a true emergency, sooner or later, you will know. Allowing these negative people to ruin almost every day of your life is a bigger emergency. This kind of stress can raise your blood pressure, cause insomnia, affect job performance and other relationships. The question is, do you want that person inconvenienced or do you want to live with the constant negative input? Make the decision that is healthy for you. They are responsible for themselves. When we remove these people from our lives, we are better able to focus on what we need and reduce anxiety as we create our lives to nurture our souls, moving ever closer to our ultimate self.

Two Tools Identified

Co-author of a study on reducing anxiety, Michelle G. Newman, Phd. stated that the study was initiated to understand how to reduce rates of negative thought patterns and behaviors. Two tools were identified, (1) Goal Persistence, (“When I encounter problems, I don’t give up until I solve them.”) and (2) Positive Reappraisal, (I can find something positive in the worst situations.”) It is imperative that you set and work towards goals and allow only positive people inside your inner circle if you truly want to be healthy. Interestingly enough, self-mastery, the belief that you can do anything that you set your mind to do, did not help. It was working towards those goals with positive persistence that was the deciding factor in the participants state of mind. It’s the effort and focus applied to the goal, not the goal, that changes how we feel and think. Notice the bicycle logo on our Home page, “Life Is a Beautiful Journey, Enjoy The Ride.” Note something that we say often, “Create Your Life”. It’s the positive journey and the creating that gives us joy and alleviates negative thoughts and feelings. When we do achieve a goal, all the better. Set a new one.

S.M.A.R.T.
The S.M.A.R.T. model is a popular strategy for achieving goals and staying focused on them in the process.

S- Specific Goals are important.

M-Measurable David says “What Gets Measured, Gets Done.” Write down your workouts and your progress. Keep accurate records. Otherwise you will not progress.

A-Achievable Can you do what you need to do to achieve this goal?

R-Realistic Is this goal something that can happen?

T-Time-bound-Do you have or can you make time to achieve this goal?

You’re In Charge

So often we short change ourselves by simply not exercising authority in our lives. You are in charge of your life. Set goals and work towards them and soar right past many negative emotions that can destroy you.

“Create Your Life.”

(1) https://www.healthcentral.com/article/perseverence-toward-life-goals-reduces-mental-disorders

6 Habits of Highly Successful People

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Success is a relative term. What looks like success to one person may not look like success to another. Your success will be achieved when you set and meet goals that are important to you and improve your life.

There are habits that all successful people have that are easy to cultivate with just a little effort. It would be well worth your time to focus on these characteristics and make them your own.

1-Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination will slow your progress and possibly derail your efforts. The longer you wait to get started, the more anxiety builds. Start every day full speed ahead towards your goals. Don’t hesitate. You can make great progress early in your day if you just begin. Hesitation can put you so far behind that you never begin.

2-Set specific goals for yourself. Once you have clearly stated goals it’s easier to make every decision with those goals in mind. If you know that you want to lose 10 pounds you are much more likely to plan and track your meals instead of just drifting through your day taking pot luck. If you want to get more sleep, you will get your evening chores done in time to wind down instead of continuing on social media until a good night’s sleep is a passing fantasy.

3-Give yourself time. If you are committed to a long term goal you are much more likely to keep working towards success in the hard times. When we want instant success we tend to bail out at the first sign of a downturn. Commit for the long haul. Some of the most successful people work at their dreams for decades before they realize their reality. A few years is very little in your lifetime and that kind of commitment can make the difference in realizing your perfect life or not. Relax into success and just keep doing the right things, over and over. As David says, “Trust the process.”

4-Don’t Quit! I’ve seen the quote “It’s not how many times that you fall down that counts. It’s how many times you get up.” Just keep working your plan. If it seems that it’s not working, reconfigure but don’t quit. Find a way that works that will carry you to your goals.

5-Make mistakes! It’s necessary to make mistakes in order to find what works. There’s a lot to learn by trying to find the best path to your goals. You will make mistakes. Allow yourself to be wrong and learn from it. Don’t wallow in it. Move on better equipped to advance towards success. By eliminating the wrong way, you narrow down the possibilities of what will actually work best. Get up, dust yourself off and go again with new knowledge to pursue your heart’s desire.

6-Befriend your competitors and learn their skills. There is room for everyone on the road to success. Share your knowledge and they will be more likely to reveal their trade secrets to you. Another person’s success is not your failure. Work together towards common goals. You can both thrive with enough knowledge and dedication and will produce better, more usable work and results.

Oh yes, let me reiterate, DON’T. QUIT. That’s the most important part. You will get there if you just don’t quit. This is the true magic that will weave a rich satisfying life. Get up and go again and bask in the glow of a job well done.

Active Rest, Days Off Are Important

Contradictory Term?

The term “Active Rest” sounds contradictory but it simply means that you don’t do your hard workout. You rest from that and stay moderately active. When we work out really hard, it’s more work than fun but on Active Rest days, we can do fun things just to keep moving and get in a little light cardio. I am a lifter so on my Active Rest days I hike, walk or find an outdoor activity that is physical by nature. I recently took a day to go on a zipline adventure. It was great. I had tons of fun that was a workout but still much less intense than my weight lifting sessions. In these times, our bodies can build muscle.

Band-Aid

When we work out hard, we actually tear muscle fibers and cause inflammation in those muscles. On active rest days our bodies repair this damage by sending specialized cells to the area that form a “bandage” to repair the injured area. These cells remain as new muscle. Without these days “off”, our muscles will never have a chance to build because we are constantly tearing it down with hard workouts.

Experiment

Sometimes when we get all gung-ho about working out, we may think that we don’t want to take those off days. When I first began to lift heavy I went through a short lived phase of not wanting to take rest days. My Trainer gave me just enough rope to hang myself. He said, “Try it.” He had already told me what I should do and he’s not one to be ignored. It has always been understood that I would do as he advises because he wants me to make maximum progress without injury. Rest days are critical to both. Without rest, I would never develop my maximum potential and would greatly increase my risk of injury. Sure enough, my progress halted and I began to regress. The Overhead Press was the first to suffer but very shortly, my Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press were following suit. When I acknowledged this to my Trainer, I pretty much got a “I told you so.” That whole experiment lasted about three weeks. It was a disaster. I’ve always been zealous for progress in my numbers and in my appearance. This was not the way to achieve either. He told me that he gave me enough rope to hang myself so that I would learn and to listen to him. Lesson learned. Now I so look forward to my off days. I find fun things that I really want to do and go for it. My progress is steady. I began my program with a 135 pound standard barbell set in February of 2018. In March of this year, 2019, I bought a 300 pound Olympic set and a power rack. I’m closing in on a 200 pound deadlift. I’m not there yet, but it’s coming. That will be about 1 1/2 times my body weight. After that, who knows? I do know that this would never have happened without rest days. At 62, I’m proud.

Mental Benefits

No matter how dedicated we are to our fitness program, if we are working really hard, there is a part of our brain that sees our workout as just that, work. Guess what? All work and no play really does make Jack a dull boy. I refer to this old saying frequently because you may not have read the other articles where I mention it and it summarizes burnout. Heavy lifting is the best thing that ever happened to me for so many reasons. It has changed much more than my body. It has taught me that I can do anything. If I can stand up from a heavy Squat, I can certainly pull myself up that incline at the end of the Burma bridge on the zipline course. If I can break that heavy deadlift off the floor, I can certainly take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ from anyone who wants to dish it out. At the bottom of a heavy squat, I have to get in touch with my Super Hero and just rise, Baby, rise. I love it. It makes me a bonafide Badass, but let me tell you, it’s work. There are days that facing that barbell seems like anything except pleasure. That’s why I need days off. I can escape the hard work of dedication to a hard thing and be a child again. I can play. Days off from our workouts are as necessary as days off from work. You’ll go slap crazy without them and most likely quit. Take your rest days. Don’t even try to work out hard every day. I’ve already done that. It won’t work. Take your rest days and enjoy without guilting yourself all day. Stress relief is a part of the process and guilting yourself will hinder you.

Enriched

Working out is supposed to enrich our lives. I’ve noticed that some people seem to adhere to the “No pain, No gain.” ideology in everything like it’s a curse to enjoy life. Please. That’s just illogical. Why in this world would you say that you’re trying to have a better life and yet think that you have to miserable all the time? Without off days we will be sore and achy all the time because our bodies can never repair the self-inflicted damage that is necessary to building muscle. We will grow weary with our well-doing and seriously desire to quit at some point. Our minds will never have any time to reset with creative play. Work out and work out hard, as long as your doctor approves, but take those active rest days and benefit in body and mind. Enjoy exploring your playful, childlike side again with active adventures and days of curious joy as you rediscover the relish of playful activity. Remember what you enjoyed as a child and pursue it on these days or do things that you’ve always wanted to do and never thought that you had the time. Make time. Your health depends on it. I always wanted to be a ballerina…Anybody got a pink tutu?

It’s Entirely Up to You

Doctors do not make you healthy.

They attempt to heal you after you have sickened or injured yourself.

Teachers do not make you learn.

You must pick up those books, read the words and absorb their meaning.

Trainers do not make you fit.

No amount of money in the world is going to buy you a fit body if you do not move it.

Coaches do not make you rich.

They can help you learn the skills, but you have to put in the work.

At some point you have to understand that this life is 100% your responsibility.

If you depend on others to bring you health, knowledge, fitness, riches or happiness, you will always feel let down.

Take action to care for yourself. It’s a cold world, do not sell yourself short for any reason. Ever